Interview with Baudouin Genouville, Global Alliances and Integration Manager, Suprema
FindBiometrics president Peter O’Neill recently had a chance to speak with Baudouin Genouville, global alliances and integration manager at Suprema. After a breif over view of the company’s history and offerings, the interview turns to the secrets behind Suprema’s revenue growth, the impact that Apple’s Touch ID biometrics is having on the markets, and the big new biometrics solutions the company launched in Las Vegas at ISC West.
Peter O’Neill, President, FindBiometrics (FB): Please provide our readers with a brief background of your company.
Baudouin Genouville, Global Alliances and Integration Manager, Suprema: Suprema is a biometrics technology specialist. Suprema was founded in the year 2000 and since then grew rapidly in the fingerprint biometrics business. Initially, Suprema started with developing biometric algorithms then shortly thereafter produced our own sensors and modules. Ever since 2005 we have manufactured a full portfolio of finished products: biometric readers, terminals and scanners. It is important to say that we have developed all aspects of fingerprint technology and are now expanding aggressively into software.
FB: Can you please describe Suprema’s range of products?
Suprema: In terms of Fingerprint solutions, it is difficult to find a provider than can rival Suprema’s extensive line of products. Our solutions cover access control, time & attendance, PC fingerprint scanners, FBI-certified Fingerprint Live Scanners, passport readers, and OEM fingerprint modules. All of them are using Suprema’s trusted fingerprint technology and benefit from the unrivaled quality standards in South Korea. This allows our partners to cover, with confidence, a wide range of applications such as Government, Bank, Data Center, Retail store, Real Estate, Ports & Airport, Office, School, Mining, Casino, Prison, Supermarket Chain, Hotel, Factory, Hospital, Transport, and more. Actually as you see, the list of our applications is vast. But all of our customers have something in common: based on years working with Suprema, they have understood that fingerprint technology is complicated and that they can rely on Suprema. This confidence is the first reason for our constant revenue growth over the years.
FB: Speaking of revenue, Suprema’s revenue has grown significantly again in 2014. Can you explain to our FindBiometrics readers the key to this success?
Suprema: Our revenue has grown 26.2 percent in 2014 compared to 2013. We have seen growth in all regions in the globe in 2014 and all our main partners have benefited from this growth. I would say that the key success factor is that Suprema does not develop solutions that focus on specific vertical markets, but instead we provide a wide range of solutions required by our end users. So, what do they require? They want a solution that is altogether cost effective, convenient and providing the true identity of persons. Also they want a biometric technology that is standardized among manufacturers because they think broad. They do not want to be dependent on a single provider. This is what Suprema provides with its fingerprint portfolio. The result is the increased number of partnerships that we have signed with global companies so they can integrate our solution into their portfolio.
FB: So where are you seeing the greatest growth in terms of vertical markets?
Suprema: Due to Suprema success in many large tenders, the biggest growth we have seen last year is in FBI-certified Fingerprint Live Scanners for government customers. The revenue coming from access control and time & attendance solutions has grown significantly as well, with a two digit pace and still accounts for the largest part of our company results.
FB: Is there a geographic area that has been particularly good for you?
Suprema: All continents are growing but if I must to point out one, I can say that in terms of pure growth, North America had the biggest growth in 2014. The level of understanding of biometrics is high and our exclusive distributor, Entertech Systems, has established strong partnerships with main security vendors in North America. As a result, an increasing number of companies that are serious about security are using Suprema.
Europe is the second-fastest growing market, mainly because our solutions are simple to install and to scale. The time saved when using Suprema is a valuable competitive factor, especially when considering labor costs for both installation and maintenance which is a major concern in Europe.
FB: How do you think the growth in mobile biometrics will change the market?
Suprema: I believe that this change started on September 20, 2013 with the launch of iPhone 5S. The growth in mobile biometrics has and will continue to lower the barriers for people’s acceptance towards fingerprint & biometrics in general. Fingerprint has long been associated with a somewhat negative image as it is the preferred identification method for criminals. However, the implementation of fingerprint technology in the latest smartphones has changed the perception that fingerprints are not a source of invasion of your privacy, but rather a secured way to protect your own personal data such as emails, contacts or pictures.
FB: What can we expect to see from Suprema in 2015 and 2016?
Suprema: Maybe you saw at ISC West in Las Vegas that we have launched our new BioStation 2. It is an ultra-performance IP fingerprint terminal. We have no doubt that this device is setting the new standard for fingerprint terminals. What is new about this device is that it has a very powerful CPU. This allows us to increase both the user capacity and performance of BioStation 2. A lot of customers ask us how many users they can store in the device. But in fact memory is not a limitation for us. But what can be a limitation is matching time and this is linked to the CPU power. The BioStation 2 has a fingerprint matching time that is 6X faster than the previous BioStation device. Thus we have extended the device capacity to 20,000 fingers in 1:N matching and 500,000 fingers in 1:1 matching. On top of this, BioStation 2 is IP65 rated, has integrated WiFi and PoE, and is in the same price range as the previous BioStation.
On the software side, BioStar 2 is the second product that we launched in Las Vegas. BioStar 2 is our access control and time management software. It is a simple to install and to use Web-based software with dedicated biometrics functions. Web-based means that you can run your BioStar 2 web interface from any platform (Microsoft, Linux, IOS, Android) and use a PC or your mobile device with a simple browser. After being securely identified as administrator, you can remotely grant access to a door or enroll a user fingerprint with any simple smartphone or computer.
FB: Indeed, I did see some of these products at ISC West and you have come a long way in the past 10 years. Thank you very much Baudouin. It has been a pleasure and thanks for taking the time to speak with us.
Suprema: Thank you Peter.